Advice for Older Job Seekers

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Comments (10)

Audrey (Host) in Austin, Texas

87 months ago

Here is a place for older job seekers to get advice about the job hunt. As always be polite! Thanks!

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Call me Charlie in Louisville, Kentucky

87 months ago

Good idea. I am probably the most guilty one of getting into a heavy discussion and forgetting the posts are supposed to be about the particular company in the heading. Sorry about that.

So here I am for one, and I am 64. I am not unemployed but I sure know how to deal with finding work after the age of 40. I got 24 years experience in it. :)

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Over and Over in Stamford, Connecticut

87 months ago

Monster has a forum called Age Issues which is supposed to help older workers with age discrimination. I found it worthless and very depressing. It's really sad what this country is doing to it's older workers. Not all of us can retire and most of us will have to work until the day we die.

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Audrey (Host) in Austin, Texas

86 months ago

What do you think is the best chance for older workers to succeed? Starting a business? Consulting? Changing careers? Patience and perseverance? Small business?

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Call me Charlie in Louisville, Kentucky

86 months ago

Audrey (Host) in Austin, Texas said: What do you think is the best chance for older workers to succeed? Starting a business? Consulting? Changing careers? Patience and perseverance? Small business?

Since no one else has offered a response I will state my opinion on the question.

I believe that the best chances lie in the areas of starting a business of one's own whether that be a significant business or just a small sole proprietorship.

I believe changing careers is not a good idea because the situation seems to not be one of the choice of career but the simple fact of companies being able to get the same work done by people who are willing to take less money for the work.

Patience and perseverance are what many older workers are doing but one can wind up homeless before any significant changes will be made to the present job market.

(cont'd)

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Call me Charlie in Louisville, Kentucky

86 months ago

(cont'd)

When I was forty, it became clear to me that I was simply making too much money to sustain the salary I commanded. I saw younger people coming into the workplace who were able to do every bit as well as myself and my experience did not count for much. At the time, I repaired large computer systems. The young ones could repair just as well as I could and the only time my experience was valuable was for those top one percent of failures where most people were unable to find the fix. As computer equipment got smaller and smaller and less and less expensive, it got to the point that those one percent machines could just as easily be replaced for the same cost as what they had to pay me to hang around all year.

I naturally went into the "patience and perseverance mode as many do today, but waiting for things to change was nearly a disaster. Computers were not going to get any bigger or more complicated and a machine that cost $100,000 back then can now be had for about $1000 or less.

(cont'd)

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Call me Charlie in Louisville, Kentucky

86 months ago

(cont'd)

I went through the "should I retrain?" phase. At that time, networks were all the rage and the top contenders were Banyan Vines and IBM Token Ring networks. The schools wanted about $5000 to certify you on token ring and I worked on a few token ring networks and discovered it was mostly a software thing and the electronics were basically the same as previous communications devices. I kept the money and Token Ring went out of vogue very quickly.

I tried other careers and ran into the "You gotta start at the bottom all over again." scenario. I tried consulting but the same situation existed. Why pay someone a consulting fee if there are plenty of temps who can pop in and do the same thing?

(cont'd)

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Call me Charlie in Louisville, Kentucky

86 months ago

(cont'd)

Finally I settled on self employment. I started very small and found that many people wanted things done and were willing to pay good money for it. One fellow wanted me to go to Oklahoma for a day and help explain how one of those old computers worked to a University who had bought one as a training test bed. It happened that I was the only person in the Southeast who still knew how they worked because all the others had either moved on up into higher management jobs or had been away from electronics so long they wouldn't touch it. Another person was refurbishing old computer equipment and needed someone to help put a working system together from all the old machines he had bought.

Still the big machines disappeared and the new ones got so small my old eyes could no longer see well enough to fix any electronics.

I changed to fixing houses thinking that they would never get too small to work on because they had to be big enough for people to live in them. The wring in a house (including the appliances and so forth are child's play to an electronics tech so it required very little adaptation. That business lasted ten years and saw me through to retirement.

(cont'd)

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Call me Charlie in Louisville, Kentucky

86 months ago

((cont'd)

Now, I really don't need to work but sitting around doing nothing gets boring and there is always something to buy that one wants, so I went back to work, but this time in a slightly different way. These days, companies provide a nice $3000 stereo microscope and fixing tiny boards from a cell phone is just as easy as ever even for old eyes. I use the skills that I have always used in electronics just on smaller stuff and have the advantage of knowing how best to do things because I have done thousands of such repairs.

Lately, I work on several contracts. One person wants one device designed and built (one of a kind) and another wants a cheap source of some other repair or manufacture. Together, they all keep me employed and there is not that much stress nor demand of my time.

There is an old saying, "If I knew then what I know now..." well I DO know now and you who are 40 are still "then" so what I advise is forget the search for a job and go out and create your own job. Use that abundance of skill and knowledge that companies are not willing to pay for any longer and apply it to your own business. Compete with them directly if you need to. Employ yourself. It is easier than you think.

You may not make millions but you aren't making millions now, are you? Even a small business will easily support one or two people and it can be started up and be profitable in as little as a month. If you don't know anything about bookkeeping - hire a temp (how about that for an idea?) same goes for programming your new widget or coming up with an advertising scheme or even writing a business plan for those larger entrepreneurial adventures.

(soapbox mode off)

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38+ is old age in the IT industry in Frisco, Texas

86 months ago

Charlie to a interesting path. Many do.

Some can't afford to do that as Health Insurance for a family without a solid company reducing the cost is not do-able.

In IT and similar industries, regardless of the specific job you do, the younger people will continue to come into the workforce with fresh new knowledge.

To compete You must continually take IT job related classes and MUST get proof in a certificate or greater ..... or you'll be swallowed up in the "out button downsizing machine." You MUST do this or you might as well get out of the industry or start your own business to seek out opportunities that fit your knowledge.

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